ANGELS FROM THE REALMS OF GLORY written in 1816
James Montgomery (1771-1854), a newspaperman in London, had been imprisoned twice for his controversial editorials. But there was no controversy when he wrote this Christmas poem and ran it in his newspaper column on Christmas Eve, 1816.
Other than Isaac Watts, probably no writer by that time contributed more to the development of Christian hymns than this unique journalist who championed the cause of the poor and downtrodden, as well as foreign missions. It is fitting that the music was composed by a blind organist, Henry Smart (1813-1879), the designer and builder of some of England’s finest organs and one of the outstanding musicians of his day.
In writing this hymn, James referred, not only to the Gospel accounts of Christ’s birth, but also to the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, where the Messiah is called the desired of all nations (Hag. 2:7), who would come suddenly to His Temple (Mal. 3:1).
Read this Christmas hymn, and – today – spend a few moments worshiping Christ the King!
Angels, from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth;
ye who sang creation’s story, now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn King.
Shepherds, in the fields abiding, watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing, yonder shines the infant light: (CHORUS)
Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar;
seek the great Desire of nations, ye have seen His natal star: (CHORUS)
Sinners, wrung with true repentance, doomed for guilt to endless pains,
justice now revokes the sentence, mercy calls you—break your chains: (CHORUS)
Though an infant now we view Him, He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him; every knee shall then bow down: (CHORUS)
All creation, join in praising God the Father, Spirit, Son;
evermore your voices raising, to the ‘ternal Three in One: (CHORUS)